- Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese raises your risk for several cancers.
- Exercise helps your body regulate hormone levels. Increased levels of some hormones can increase your cancer risk.
- Exercise speeds digestion, which may reduce the time that potentially harmful substances are in the colon.
Sit less. Extended periods of sitting increase your cancer risk, even if you exercise regularly. Sitting too much also increases your risk for obesity, which leads to cancer and other chronic diseases. Try to get up and move for at least one to two minutes every hour that you are awake.
Get active. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes vigorous exercise each week. It’s best to do a combination of both, and you don’t have to do it all at one time. You can split up your activity into short intervals of as little as 10 minutes.
During moderate exercise, you should be able to talk, but not sing. Examples of moderate activities include walking, yoga and mowing the lawn.
During vigorous activity, you can say a few words, but you can’t hold a conversation. Examples of vigorous activity include running or jogging, fast bicycling and swimming.
Build strength. Perform muscle strengthening exercises at least twice a week. Strength training helps you maintain a healthy weight by building muscle, which boosts your metabolism. Strength training, also called resistance training, should be done in addition to moderate and vigorous exercise.
Get kids moving. Kids need exercise just like adults do. Encouraging your children to exercise every day, you build good habits that will affect their health for a lifetime.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a tool to help you determine if you are a healthy weight. Fill out the fields below to get your BMI.
|18 or less||Underweight|
|19 - 24||Healthy|
|25 - 29||Overweight|
Your BMI indicates that you are underweight. Talk to your doctor about ways to maintain a healthy weight. No matter what your weight is, eating a plant-based diet and staying physically active can reduce your risk for cancer.
Your BMI is in the normal range. If you have questions or concerns about your BMI or maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor. No matter what your weight is, eating a plant-based diet and staying physically active can reduce your risk for cancer.
Your BMI is in the overweight range. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. You can take steps to maintain a healthy weight.
Your BMI is in the obese range. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. You can take steps to maintain a healthy weight.
Cancer Prevention Center
Strength training is about more than looking good. Strong muscles make your daily activities easier and help keep your body injury-free.
It can also improve your metabolism and help you stay at a healthy weight.
But if your gym is still closed or you're working out at home to reduce your risk of COVID-19 exposure, your strength training routine may need a reboot.
"Making the transition to weight training at home can be a challenge, but it doesn't take much to get going, and you can get a good workout even with a small amount of equipment," says Wellness Specialist Evan Thoman.
Check with your doctor to see if you're fit enough to train with weights, and then follow this advice to get started.
You don't need a whole set of weights
Demand for weight training equipment has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, hand weights can be hard to find. But one set of weights can be enough to make a difference.
"Don't worry about finding the perfect set of free weights. Get what is available or use what you have now," says Thoman. "It could be a set of five-pound dumbbells or a set of 20-pound dumbbells."
You also can use household objects like cans of food, or gallons of milk. These items require more care as they can be more difficult to hold.
No matter how heavy or light your weights are, you can make variations to your routine to ensure you are getting an effective workout based on your fitness level.
Your body will tell you if you're training at the right level
Weight training exercises are done in sets of three, with a rest in between. People usually start with between 10 and 12 repetitions, or reps, of the same exercise in a set. You can do less or more reps in each set based on your fitness level and goals. Listen to your body to determine how many reps to do.
“When you first start weight training, you'll think to yourself, 'Wow, this is hard, and I feel like my muscles are working,'" says Thoman. "But after a few weeks, you will likely notice that the exercises don't feel as challenging. Over time, your body will adapt, and when that happens, it's time for a change.”
It's important to know when and how to keep moving toward your goal when you hit a weight training plateau.
You can progress with only one set of weights
Let’s say building muscle is your goal, and you started out doing 10 reps for a specific exercise and now find yourself doing 15 reps for the same exercise to stay challenged. In that case, it's time to change one of your weight training variables: intensity, volume or rest time.
For endurance, do higher reps, and take shorter rests between sets. To build muscle, choose a starting weight that is challenging but will allow you to perform 10 to 12 reps while maintaining good form. Take a 90-second rest before you start again.
"Whichever combination you choose, strength training will improve your daily life," says Thoman. "Stronger muscles will help you avoid injuries that might come from bending over to pick something up, carrying groceries in, or picking up your children or grandchildren."
Start with these five exercises for maximum impact
The farmer's walk strengthens your arms, so carrying groceries is easier.
Due to our response to COVID-19, all blood donations at MD Anderson
Blood Donor Center locations are being held by appointment only.